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The Lone Tester in an Agile World: STP Online Summit


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From the STP Online Summit "Agile Transitions"

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The Lone Tester in an Agile World: STP Online Summit

  1. 1. Michael LarsenSenior Tester, Producer & Commentator: TWiST Podcast Speaker: PNSQC, CAST, STAREAST Facilitator: Weekend Testing Americas Contributor: How to Reduce the Cost of Software Testing Blog: TESTHEAD ( Articles: ST/QA, StickyMinds, The Testing Planet, Tea Time with TestersMichael Larsen,Senior Tester
  2. 2. About Me (cont.)– 18 Years Software Testing Experience– Mostly with Traditional Development Approaches– Usually Sole Tester for Projects or Companies– Made the switch to Agile development in January, 2011– Close enough to the Pain to Remember It!
  3. 3. Traditional Test WorkflowReview requirements documentReview a software specificationWrite out test cases based on softwarespecCreate detailed scripted test proceduresWait for a build to arrive so you can testExecute your scripted testsRe-run tests that were added to coverbugs that were found in previous buildsDetermine after enough testing or thespecific release date if software is readyto ship
  4. 4. The Lone Tester in the Traditional World– Finding issues in requirements and design documents– Verifying/validating software meets the spec– Running tests at given milestone points to see if the product break
  5. 5. Problems With Traditional Testing Approach– Requirements are never complete– Spec often misses the mark– Product "meets the spec”, but isnt really what the customer wants– Separate development and test cycles– Software thrown "over the wall" to be tested and then thrown back to be reworked– Waiting for the product to be viable again to test
  6. 6. Is There Another Way?!
  7. 7. What is Agile?– Build system in smaller chunks– Business requirements discussed along with product development– Build what is actually wanted– Develop and test smaller bits of functionality more frequently– Delivering product that meets real business needs
  8. 8. The Agile Manifesto
  9. 9. The Agile Approach• Small slices (Stories)• Testing from the beginning of the project• The whole team responsible for quality• Test Driven Development used to help design code• Tests fail first, build code to pass tests, refactor code to be more efficient, integrate with other code• Continuous build and integration each time code is checked in
  10. 10. Is Your Team "agile"?– is the team using a test-driven approach to development?– are stakeholders actively involved in the development process?– does the team produce high-quality software at regular intervals?– is the team highly collaborative and self- organizing?– is the team actively improving the process of how they work?
  11. 11. A Typical Story– Developed in coordination with the product owner– Develop the storys acceptance criteria along with it
  12. 12. Test Driven Development– Developers often working in paired teams • Focus on Red, Green, Refactor • Repeat the process if necessary • When the story has reached the state of DONE, move on to the next story
  13. 13. TDD is Not Testing– ???– TDD is a design process for development– Helps to cover regression tests and unit tests on all code segments– No build goes out that is not "all green" (all unit and regression tests pass)
  14. 14. The Whole Team is Responsible for Quality– TDD– Acceptance testing– Automated testing throughout the entire cycle.– Provide continuous feedback to the development team
  15. 15. ???Lots of"Testing"...But where arethe "Testers"?
  16. 16. Are Testers Needed?– Some view Agile as a "post tester world”– Testing is done by development, product owners, and customers– Is there a need for dedicated testers?
  17. 17. Testers Needed and Valued– Testing is integrated at all levels– Quality is seen as a team effort– Traditional Testing role (Quality Police) not required– Testing are being done at many different levels– Model of dedicated tester doing all the testing has changed
  18. 18. Agile Testing Requires Variety of Skills – Domain knowledge about the system under test – Technical competency to interact effectively with development team
  19. 19. Testing in Thin Slices– Testing focused on if story meets customer requirements– Exploration around stories to guide and provide feedback for team– Automating acceptance tests to run in the future along with new features being developed
  20. 20. “Agile Testing is…”• According to Bret Pettichord:• “Headlights of the project – where are you now? Where are you headed?”• “Provide information to the team – allowing the team to make informed decisions”• “Find and inform team of bugs” – A “bug” is anything that could bug a user – testers don’t make the final call• “Testers do not "assure" quality – the team does (or doesn’t)”• “Testing not a game of “gotcha” – set goals, rather then focus on mistakes”
  21. 21. Challenges for Agile Testers– Requirements and Acceptance Criteria specific to single story– Testing as early as possible– Acceptance Tests developed before the software is developed– Automated tests run against code every time a build is performed– Regression testing requirements significantly increased
  22. 22. Single Tester in an Agile Development Team– Testers have to adapt to a different expectation and needs– Plenty of room for "testing" but we need to broaden our toolkit
  23. 23. My Story: Sidereel
  24. 24. Sidereel: Pre-Tester– Prior to 2011, no dedicated tester– All developers actively use TDD– 4 Stage deployment method put into place • developer machines / demo / staging / production– Each step had additional people looking at the product– Testing done at each level by product owners, content developers, support staff and execs– Worked well, but still plenty of issues discovered after the fact
  25. 25. Sidereel: Post Tester– In 2010, they decided that having a dedicated tester would be a benefit • Testers can provide many more directed efforts against the code because of training and focus • Product owners and other staff members can apply some time to testing, but they have other jobs • Testers can bring all of their time to testing an application and continue to apply numerous approaches
  26. 26. How Can We Use Testers?Step Outside of the Obvious• Tester verifies bug fixes• Tester confirms user storiesGood start, but there is alot more we can do!
  27. 27. Augment The Testing Already Happening– TDD is meant to prevent defects– TDD will help keep mistakes out, but not all of them– Testers operate from a different mindset • Use Exploratory testing techniques • Aspects development team might not have considered • Look for missing story criteria
  28. 28. Acceptance Testing: Great Place for Testers– Have testers implement Active and Automated Acceptance Testing– Not essential for testers to know how to code, but helpful– Developing acceptance test requirements and potential automated tests at the start of the iteration
  29. 29. Where to Look for Acceptance Tests• Backlog• Current user stories• Current bugs
  30. 30. Automating Acceptance Tests– Variety of Tools to Help This Process • Fitnesse • Selenium/ WebDriver • Capybara • Cucumber • Other testing frameworks
  31. 31. Benefits– Share results with the development team– Help provide information about implementation– Help the team get to DONE • DONE from a development perspective • DONE from a testing perspective
  32. 32. Disadvantages– Passive "checking" as opposed to Active Testing • Inquiring about the results we get • Learning based on results and exploring new avenues– Tests can quickly become stale– Consistent upkeep required
  33. 33. Tester as Anthropologist– Observe the development team– Look for feedback of actual users– Work with content developers– Examine workflows– Discover the underlying and unspoken "culture”
  34. 34. Other Benefits– Testers help with planning and future work– Testers determine testability requirements– Testers clarify stories and validate them early– Testers can help identify when a story is "too big"
  35. 35. Advocate for the Customer– Understand the customer needs– Review and relate to the business needs– Review and relate to development practices– The tester can straddle all of these
  36. 36. Being The Lone Tester– Requires communication– Willingness to stretch– Pair with programmers to help make automation a reality– Participate with planning and standups with development team– Become a domain expert about the customers needs
  37. 37. Tips to Thrive as a Lone Tester– Focus on Communication– Learn the Expectations of Your Development Team– Stop Thinking in Terms of Us vs. Them– Learn How to Work with the Development Tools of Your Organization– Plan for Pairing Sessions with Developers and Domain Experts • Tester/Developer • Tester/Support • Tester/Designer • Tester/Customer– Cultivate Relationships with Mentors– Develop Your Craft
  38. 38. Use Context-driven Principles– The value of any practice depends on its context.– There are good practices in context, but there are no best– practices.– People, working together, are the most important part of any project’s context.– Projects unfold over time in ways that are often not predictable.– The product is a solution. If the problem isn’t solved, the product doesn’t work.– Good software testing is a challenging intellectual process.– Only through judgment and skill, exercised cooperatively throughout the entire project, are we able to do the right things at the right times to effectively test our products.
  39. 39. Secret Memo for Lone Testers: Youre Not Really ALONE– You have many allies– Developers are actively testing as they develop code– Customer actively informs you and guides you about features– Support team gives feedback about pain points– Designers give feedback about usability and user experience– Every one of these people does testing, its not ALL ON YOU!
  40. 40. References• Ambler, Scott (2010). "Agile Testing and Quality Strategies: Discipline over Rhetoric". (• Crispin, Lisa (2003). "XP Testing Without XP: Taking Advantage of Agile Testing Practices" (• Hendrickson, Elizabeth (2008). "Driving Development with Tests: ATDD and TDD" (• Larsen, Michael (2011). "The Challenges of the Lone Tester: Learn to Thrive" ( Learn-to-Thrive)• Parkinson, Shane (2008). "Agile Methods and Software Testing" ( testing/)
  41. 41. Questions???